Today, Thursday 4th February 2021, is Time to Talk Day.
The importance of this day is to encourage people to have open conversations about mental health. Although face-to-face conversations may not possible due to Coronavirus, talking about mental health through other means is still important. This includes using phone calls or video calls to get people talking. Particularly now due to the pandemic, these conversations are even more important as it is likely that a lot of us will be feeling heightened anxiety, stress, loneliness and isolation due to Coronavirus.
Having conversations about mental health and debunking the myths and stigma that mental health is still associated with is vital because:
- 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem annually in England; and
- 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week in England.*
*Statistics according to the charity Mind
Despite the above statistics highlighting how common mental health issues are, people are still afraid to share what they are going through. This may be due to feelings of shame or embarrassment, or fear of being dismissed or being treated differently. This all ties into the stigma attached to mental health, which can hinder people’s recovery and progress in overcoming ill mental health.
Small conversations about mental health are powerful. If a face-to-face conversation or phone call is too intimidating, then you could try sending a text message to somebody that you want to talk about your mental health. This could be a simple few lines such as ‘I want to talk to you about some important things that are on my mind’. If you are wanting to reach out to someone to talk about their mental health but are unsure how to approach this, simply ask ‘how are you’, and really listen to their answer.
Some of us may benefit from reading the personal stories on Time to Change o show that we are not alone in what we go through and there will be someone, somewhere experiencing something similar.